Atletico close to sealing Torres deal
Atletico Madrid are close to sealing a deal for Spain forward Fernando Torres to return to his boyhood club.
MADRID - Atletico Madrid are close to sealing a deal for Spain forward Fernando Torres to return to his boyhood club, assistant coach German Burgos said on Saturday.
Later in the day, Torres' parent club Chelsea announced that the player's loan switch to AC Milan would become permanent next month but Spanish media reports said that was simply a formality ahead of another loan move to Atletico being finalised on Sunday.
Italy winger Alessio Cerci will switch from the Spanish capital to Milan as part of the deal, which will run until the end of the 2015-16 season, according to the reports.
Torres, 30, joined Milan on a two-year loan in August but has yet to rediscover his form and has only managed one goal in 10 Serie A appearances.
"It is on the verge of completion and we are waiting for things to firm up," said Burgos of the agreement for the striker to rejoin Atletico.
"He will be a very important reinforcement for the second half of the season," Diego Simeone's number two told Spanish media. "We will get the best out of him...and he knows where he is coming to."
Cerci said on his Facebook page that he had not yet signed for another team.
"I am an Atletico Madrid player and together with the club I am considering the best solution for both," he added. "I think that is right and normal."
A World Cup and double European Championship winner with Spain, Torres joined Atletico at the age of 11.
Known as 'El Nino' (The Kid), he made his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in 2001 when Madrid's second club were in the second division.
When he left for Liverpool in July 2007 he pledged to return and is no doubt hoping a second stint at Atletico will help resurrect a career that has largely been a disappointment since he joined Chelsea in January 2011.
"The striker moved to the San Siro on a two-year loan deal in August and on Jan. 5 he will complete a permanent transfer to the Serie A side," the Stamford Bridge club said in a statement on Saturday.
"Chelsea Football Club thanks Fernando for his service during the past four seasons and wishes him the very best for the future."
Atletico's next match is a La Liga game at home to Levante on 3 January before they host Real Madrid in the first leg of a King's Cup last 16 tie on 7 January.